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Bicycling in Lexington

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Bicyclists to protest lack of lane

June 1, 2007: Protest being staged by local bicycle enthusiasts will take place on a downtown loop dominated by Vine Street during the afternoon rush hour. The protest is over Vine Street's recent repaving which did not include bike lakes, unlike what was done last year when Main Street was repaved. Also of note, Limestone, Upper and Midland did not have bike lanes striped either, although the first two are incredibly narrow as-is.

Notes --

1. State officials said the contractor who repaved Vine Street had begun to apply the permanent striping on the new surface before KYTC received a copy of Lexington's plans for a bike lane. The contractor knew about the request for the bike lane before the permanent striping began. He agreed to use temporary striping on Vine Street until the state could review the detailed bike plans. It has been requested on Vine since late-2006.

2. As a result, the city (and mayor) was upset. Vine Street is to be part of a network of bike and pedestrian friendly trails in Fayette County. The city has been pushing the project as a way to promote people's health and lead to fewer cars on the road. Mayor Newberry's 2007-08 budget includes $2 million for the project -- which has included the Yellow Bike program.

3. The city is requesting the state restripe Vine Street to include a bike lane. The city so far has not received a response. While the city is not in favor of remilling the street, pressure techniques can remove the existing paint lines.

4. The bike lanes are intended for the right side of Vine Street from Broadway to Beck Alley. The city would like to see the rest of Vine (that extends to Main Street) to be marked for a shared bicycle and motor vehicle lane.

5. Meanwhile, resurfacing continues on Midland and Winchester Road. It includes temporary striping while KYTC reviews the city's plans for bike lanes. The city wants bike lanes on both sides of the roadway.

Article information: "Bicyclists to protest lack of lane, By Jennifer Hewlett, Herald-Leader [Lexington], June 1, 2007"

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So popular they disappear

Notes --

1. Just now three weeks old, the yellow bike program has put 51 yellow bikes onto the street in an effort to promote bike use downtown. The bikes were clustered conspicuously along busy downtown thoroughfares, but today, few are to be seen and found. The program has been far more popular than expected, and more bikes will be added soon.

2. Some are raising concerns though -- that some are taking them outside of the downtown, storing them at home, or stealing them.

3. A Herald-Leader trip to find yellow bikes located only 10 in a four-hour period -- four of which had flat tires or missing seats (used so that the owners can claim them). Most were in the residential areas north of the downtown. One was in Chevy Chase. One bike, locked at North Broadway and W. Sixth Street, had a flat rear tire and no seat and had been locked there for two weeks.

3a. Last week, a volunteer searched most of the city and found 42 out of the original 52 -- the most distant bike located in north Lexington at New Circle Road.

3b. A rumor has been going around that a user peeled off the stickers from the bike and attempted to pass it off as their own.

4. The Yellow Bikes program is paid for by private donors, including Gray Construction, Main and Rose Lofts, Downtown Lexington Corp. and Pedal Power. Anyone can buy a $10 universal key for the bikes. Riders are supposed to remain in the general downtown area and lock them to a downtown rack when they are done -- but was later expanded to other areas.

5. Pedal Power has sold 185 bike keys alone, and the High Street YMCA has sold nearly 300.

6. The organizers might use GPS tracking for future bikes. By the end of the summer, 200 bikes might be in the Yellow Bikes program. 28 will be added early next week.

Article information: "So popular they disappear, By Sean Rose, Herald-Leader, June 7, 2007"

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That's a shame that this program is already being abused. It only takes a few people to spoil things. Let's hope the bikes don't continue to be used for purposes other than those originally intended.

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More yellow bikes ready for downtown

"More yellow bikes ready for downtown, Herald-Leader, June 8, 2007"

Well, they have placed more yellow bikes in the downtown. On June 7 (Thursday), they added 28 new yellow bikes, 13 of which are "step-through" models for short people, or for those who prefer not to ride bikes with a center bar between the seat and handlebars. The new bikes have a cable lock around the seat so that it is impossible to take it off.

There are now 80 bikes total.

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Locking the seats was a good idea. I'm excited to ride around in about a month when I can get back up there for a weekend.

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Since they placed those 28 extra bikes I've seen a lot more around that aren't in use. I think the demand was just way too high for the supply. Hopefully both will continue to rise throughout the summer and again next year.

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Vine Street bike lane decision is on hold: Officials say changes to road come first

By Jennifer Hewlett, Herald-Leader [Lexington], July 21, 2007

A new bike lane for Vine Street is on hold while the city of Lexington discuss several proposed changes to the three- and four-lane one-way road that involves much more than accommodating bicyclists. Discussions ranging from a conversion from a one-way to a two-way street, the Vine Street linear park proposal, and sidewalk improvements have led officials to table the bike lanes for a while. Local officials have also looked at several plans to make Vine Street more bicycle friendly, such as removing one automobile lane and creating two bike lanes out of it on each side of the wide road.

Officials stated that the state of Kentucky had moved its repaving schedule from June to May, forcing the city to rush to complete its bike lane plans for Vine, which would have stretched from Broadway to Beck Alley (near the Transit Center). The decision to use temporary striping on Vine gave state officials time to review the city's bike lane plans. The state transportation cabinet declined to add the bike lane, adding that the traffic lanes would have been "10 feet wide." They prefer a minimum of 11 feet.

[Public comment: What the hell? Have they not been along Upper or Limestone, where lanes are 8 feet in some areas? 11 feet is almost a godsend along this "freeway" of sorts!]

The state did include a shared-use and bicycle lane on Winchester Road between Midland Industry Road, and on Midland Avenue. Permanent striping and signage indicating the lane hasn't been placed yet.

The city is expected to receive seven miles of new bike lanes this year, to bring the total to 19.

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Follow the Yellow Bike rules: Strict downtown limits imposed for riding two-wheelers

By Jennifer Hewlett, Herald-Leader [Lexington], August 10, 2007

The 80-bike Yellow Bike program is being taken to another level.

If the communal bike is not kept inside newly set boundaries, or if you are caught vandalizing or stealing a bike, the Lexington Yellow Bikes program can prosecute you. Police officers will keep watch for the bikes as well and send out warnings and citations. The new boundary is Maxwell Street, Newtown Pike, Third Street, and Midland Avenue.

Officials with the program are becoming more strict since the bikes are becoming hard to find. A Herald-Leader reporter drove through the newly-designated Yellow Bike area and saw only one untethered bike along W. Maxwell. Some have been spotted outside of New Circle Road, while others have been taken home and stored.

Vandalism has not been widespread, but some fenders have been decorated with paint or markers. Others have removed seats to ensure that no one else cold use a bike.

A part-time "bike wrangler" brings bikes back to Pedal Power if they are found outside of the boundaries.

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I'm really loving this mayor ^_^ It's interesting to note, however, that trails for Lexington were proposed decades ago. The only trail I can think that was completed was the short segment along Tates Creek Road, on the inbound lanes. The paved path, which is not maintained anymore, was for bicyclists to utilize, however, it has seen scant usage. Experienced bicyclists prefer to use the roads, and those less experienced tend to stick to sidewalks -- which are non-existent on Tates Creek sans the short paved path.

Fayette to get 7 miles of new trails: $2.6 million in federal funds to allow construction of paved pedestrian, bicycle paths

By Michelle Ku, Lexington Herald-Leader, August 18, 2007

Lexington received the financial "go-ahead" necessary on August 17 to construct an additional seven miles of recreational trails in Fayette County through a federal Transportation Enhancement and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant. It is a move that supporters say could "change the face of the city." The seven new miles of trails is nearly half of the total trail mileage that Lexington will have by the end of 2007. The city is currently constructing 6.5 miles of paved trails this year, which will bring the total number of trails in the county to nearly 15.

The $2.6 million in federal funds will be used to construct three new paved bicycle and pedestrian trails and should be available in early 2008. The federal money is addition to $2 million that Mayor Jim Newberry included in the city's yearly budget for bicycle and walking trails.

Construction on the trails could begin in late 2008 or early 2009. The longest of the three trails is the Maine Chance Trail, which will so far be a four-mile paved path from the Kentucky Horse Park to the University of Kentucky's Coldstream Park. When completed, it will be the longest, continuous off-road trail in the city. The trail, which received $2 million in funding, will be part of a larger trail that will extend to the downtown, then out to Veterans Park and the south side of Lexington -- 22 miles in total. The city also received $446,400 for the Gainesway Trail, a two-mile path through Gainesway Park and along Armstrong Mill Road. It also received partial funding, $208,000, for the Town Branch Trail project. The funding will allow construction to begin on a one-mile section of trail from McConnell Springs to the Old Frankfort Pike landfill, but it will not yet connect to the 2.5 miles of Town Branch Trail that will be completed by the end of this year.

The city also received $1.8 million for landscaping, beautification, and the installation of fiber optic cable. $700,000 of that will go towards the landscaping and beautification of a 1.4 mile bicycle and pedestrian trail at Coldstream, $650,000 to plant 950 trees along the Newtown Pike corridor, and to construct or repair 1,100 feet of wooden plank and dry-stone fences, $320,000 for the for installation of fiber optic cable for traffic control systems along Man o' War Blvd., Nicholasville Road, and Alumni Drive, and $88,000 money to purchase a tank for the county's biodiesel fuel program.

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Lexington cyclists hit summit in high gear: City gets a boost for bicycle friendliness

By Michelle Ku, Lexington Herald-Leader, September 22, 2007

Mayor Jim Newberry's goal of making Lexington the most bike-friendly community in the commonwealth received a boost yesterday. The city was named a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists; Louisville is the only other city in Kentucky with that designation.

The award was announced at Lexington's first-ever Bike Summit, which drew about 225 people -- well over the expected attendance of 150. It included workshops in bike facilities, safety, education health and wellness, bike tourism and local bike culture.

The League of American Bicyclists has given about 60 cities its Bicycle Friendly Community Award out of about 200 applications it has received. The organization promotes bicycling for fun, fitness, transportation and work through advocacy and education. There are four award levels: Platinum, gold, silver and bronze, and is based on five criteria: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation and planning. The designation lasts for two years.

The only platinum-level city in America is Davis, California, where the city's logo is a bike. The city has bike lanes on about 95% of its arterial and collector streets, and has spent more than $14 million on bicycle projects in the last 10 years.

Louisville was awarded its bronze in September 2005, and is currently developing a 100-mile "Metro Loop," a paved walking and biking trail that will circle Jefferson County in a greenbelt. Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson announced the initiative in February 2005. By the end of the year, 25% of the loop will have been constructed.

In Lexington, the construction of bike lanes and walking and biking trails is moving forward. The city will soon have 30 miles each of bike lanes and paved trails; six were added in 2006 alone when the state of Kentucky resurfaced some of Lexington's major corridors, including Winchester, Tates Creek and Richmond roads.

The city now has 19 miles of bike lanes and it has money to construct an additional 10 miles. Lexington also has 10 miles of trails with another 13 miles funded.

Mayor Newberry included $2 million in the city's budget this year for paved trails, which will bring the total trail mileage to 30. The city is still identifying on how the money should be used.

In related news, the University of Kentucky Wildcat Wheels Bicycle Library received a donation of 18 new bikes from TIAA-CREF on September 21. Wildcat Wheels began in fall 2004 as a way to promote alternative transportation on campus. The bikes can be checked out for 48 hours by any UK student, faculty or staff member with a valid ID. Last October, the program started the Departmental Bike Program, which provides free blue loaner bikes for university departments. TIAA-CREF is a national financial services organization that provides retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

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